I’ve written a few other times about email in event marketing. I’ve approached the topic from a number of angles, but have always focused on dedicated event marketing emails – that is, the emails that you send out expressly to put butts in seats. When we think about Event Marketing Emails, those are the ones we typically envision. They’re the workhorses of most organizations’ entire event marketing program.
But there are other ways to use email to support your event business that aren’t dedicated event emails. Here are a few I’ve seen used successfully:
1. Advertising in your own newsletters: You may already integrate some of your event promotions in the content of your newsletters. Leverage that media one step further by running a graphical “house ad” in the newsletter as well. Use Click-View Tracking to see how effective your ad is at driving traffic, but know also that the ad adds value independent of clicks. The image gives you a greater opportunity to help brand your event with its logo and color scheme, and provides added frequency for your event message. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the newsletter ad is that it allows you to reach a population of subscribers who may have opted out of the promotions specific to your conference or webinar, augmenting the reach of your event marketing.
2. Launch a Dates & Deadlines Newsletter: Most organizations do not have an event. They have a whole portfolio of events – conference, dinners, webinars, each with separate dates and various early registration deadlines. On top of the events, most organizations have other key dates and deadlines to communicate, such as deadlines for research participation or board elections or release dates of anticipated research or products. Suddenly that’s a lot of dates and deadlines, which are either piling up in inboxes in dedicated messages, or choking content-based newsletters better used to communicate news instead of logistics. If this sounds like your organization, consider launching a “Dates & Deadlines” email that goes out weekly and telegraphs all the relevant to-do items on the calendar for that week and the week after. Keep it content-light with a very soft sell, as its purpose is to add value by reminding and informing. Channel your inner Twitter when you write entries, and try to keep every item to 140 characters or less, making for easy reading and low unsubscribe rates. And do whatever you can with the design to keep as much of the content above the fold in the preview pane as possible. Think of the entire newsletter almost as a sticky note in the preview pane with a handful of items easy to scan, digest and traffic as appropriate, and nothing more. When you evaluate the metrics of this newsletter, you’re more interested in open rates than click-through. Your principal aim is to remind, but since it is not a targeted message you may see lower levels of engagement than you are accustomed to. That’s OK. If you’re successful, the greatest lift you’ll see is in the results of your events business, since you’re increasing frequency and reach, and doing a better job of communicating your events (which is the greater part of selling in the Full Inbox Era).
3. Post web versions of event emails online: Even if you’re fully leveraging your newsletters and other media to promote your events, you are probably still putting a lot of energy into your dedicated event emails. Why not squeeze even more productivity out of the dedicated messages by posting them online? Wherever you have a presence and an audience is appropriate – link to them on your blog, your Facebook fan page, your LinkedIn group, Twitter, and on your website. Even encourage your employees who use social media for business purposes to post links to the web version as well. To track the results from these efforts, set up an internal “subscriber” to your messages whose account is used to generate the online version. Then put this subscriber into his own group in MagnetMail, and include this group in your message. Then when you look at the tracking for the message, you can filter by this group and see the gross clicks attributed to this user. You will not be able to see exactly which ones came from the company’s Facebook page, or Larry in Accounting’s Twitter account, but you will at least know the quantitative click lift your web version initiative generated.